Here are Informa Telecoms & Media’s top 12 predictions for what will be happening in the telecom network technology sector over the coming year. For more detail see the Intelligence Centre.
No. 1: SDN and NFV start providing a glimpse into the future of networks. SDN, virtualization and other IT concepts will start providing valuable insight into the longer vision of IT in telecoms networks in 2014. Data center deployments, operator trials, vendor innovation labs and limited commercial deployments of IT concepts are expected in 2014, paving the way for full network virtualization and use of IT in telecom networks.
No. 2: Small cells will come to the aid of congested LTE networks. In late 2013, Verizon Wireless, the world’s largest LTE operator, admitted that it was starting to see pockets of congestion in major cities. In 2014, other “early” LTE networks, especially those that operate in the lower (700-MHz) frequency bands, will start facing congestion. Those operators that have secured higher frequencies will start using them to deploy public-area small cells in 2014.
No. 3: TD-LTE growth will gather pace and converge with FDD. Interest in TD-LTE will be further boosted by China Mobile’s ambitious rollout plans for 2014 and by the technology’s adoption in major markets, such as Brazil, India, Russia and Saudi Arabia. Softbank’s alliance with Sprint will help expand the market and encourage the development of the TD-LTE ecosystem while ensuring that FDD/TDD convergence will be a hot topic in the year ahead.
No. 4: LTE carrier aggregation will take off … in some markets. The adoption of carrier aggregation (CA) will continue to be driven by the more advanced LTE markets of North America, Japan and South Korea, where operators are eager to consolidate bandwidth resources, in order to meet burgeoning capacity demand and potentially double speeds across their 4G networks. Meanwhile, deployments in Europe will continue to lag behind.
No. 5: IMS will get a boost from VoLTE and RCS. This year will see growing demand for IMS architecture, in particular IMS-based application servers. The demand will be driven by the continuing rollout of RCS globally, a growing interest in VoLTE and a subsequent flurry of Intelligent Network replacements.